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updated: 6/9/2012 12:03 PM

The Soapbox

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By The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Ray and the first morning of summer:

Here's how Ray Bradbury wrote about growing up in Waukegan in the intro to "Dandelion Wine." "It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer."

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Ray and the gifts of a lifetime:

Born in August 1920, Bradbury missed by just two weeks the beginning of his 92nd summer. Rest in peace, Ray, and thanks for the stories.

Grab a good read:

If you don't have the money to enjoy a book by Bradbury or anyone else on a coastal beach this season, there's no need to give up the reading. Local libraries are starting summer reading programs for adults and kids. Educators offer this site to find a book by ability level and interest: www.lexile.com/findabook. Check it out.

The promise of a partnership:

Faculty and College of DuPage managed to do it last month. So did Elgin Area District U-46. Now comes Palatine Township Elementary District 15, where a contract settlement has been reached. We eagerly await details, but we're encouraged by the teachers union president's promise of being in a "partnership ... toward financial stability."

Glad you asked:

Plenty of recent research shows teens generally aren't morning people. So we're not that surprised at the support in Barrington Unit District 220 for flipping the schools' staggered schedules so younger kids would start earlier in the morning and high schoolers later. Changing schedules is a big job. Kudos to District 220 for taking the first step.

The shape of summer:

Trains in Arlington Heights, Adirondack chairs in Wauconda. Just like Chicago's vaunted Cows on Parade of more than a decade ago, the decorated objects scattered around the towns showcase local artists, support good causes and add a little fun to summer. Take a walk and find your favorites.

Put down the phone:

So, 58 percent of high school seniors admit in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that they text while driving. At least half are being honest with themselves. Would as many adults be so forthright? Let's try -- but remember, honesty is nice, but self-discipline is what's really needed.

Strike up the band?

As if more evidence were needed that there's culture outside the city, we hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is considering expanding into the Western suburbs. In fact, the CSO confirms it is looking at the Arranmore Center near the DuPage-Will County border, where it has performed previously.

Summer surprise:

Schools are applauding Cook County for getting property tax bills out July 1 instead of months late, as in years past. It'll give districts some wiggle room in their budgets to have money coming in sooner. But the earlier due date may put a crimp in some taxpayers' vacation plans. Yes, course corrections can be painful.

Cheer on the hearty:

Sunday's Batavia Triathlon and Duathlon kicks off at 6:30 a.m. with a dip in Quarry Beach, followed by a bike ride and a run through the city's neighborhoods. Last year 600 entered. This year, it's 800, plus a new event to bring out more families. It all ends with a party at the Riverwalk. Come out and watch and enjoy the great weather.

A lesson for us all:

Even with all honors heaped on 13-year-old Meliton Chaidez of Aurora (whose principal thinks he could be the first Latino U.S. president), this might speak loudest about him: "He's always been there," a friend said, "giving me advice, helping me, telling me the right thing to do ... he takes his friends seriously." Keep it up, Meliton.

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